5 for 5 Self-Care Challenge: Write
Dear Wonderful, Creative You:
I’ve been really excited to share this post with you because writing is one of my passions, and I haven’t shared it much here yet, so now is the perfect opportunity.
What’s your first memory of writing or journaling for yourself?
I got my first journal at age 8. I loved the idea of having thoughts important enough to write down. I sat down with my blue, puffy-cover journal with the metal lock, and recorded the events of the day, since that’s what I thought I was supposed to do in a journal.
The “lock” proved no match for sibling curiosity, and also I quickly got bored with the approach, so I dropped it for a while. By the time I was 12 or 13, I realized I could write about the things I felt, and so I did that a lot. I certainly had people to talk to, even trusted adults in my life, but having the chance to work out my feelings in writing has always fulfilled a deep need in me. I filled books and books with journaling and poetry.
Not long after college, I came upon The Artists’ Way by Julia Cameron. It was one of many powerful influences in my journey to more fully developing my “artist self.” (The link for the book I’ve provided is an affiliate link. If you decide to click on it and purchase something, I’ll receive a small commission.)
Morning pages are one of the key elements of Cameron’s approach to helping you nurture your inner artist and harness your creativity. The morning pages are 3 pages of “brain dump” each morning.
I suggest keeping your journal and a pen next to the bed as a reminder. You might journal in bed, or seek out some caffeinated inspiration before you start. The rules are to keep your hand moving continuously across the page until the 3 pages are done, and to not read it over, at least not for the first several weeks.
You might write a bunch of drivel, silliness, self-doubts, your to do list, or what you were dreaming. It really doesn’t matter. The morning pages don’t need to be serious or creative. Cameron stresses that there is no right and no wrong way to do morning pages. “Nothing is too pretty, too silly, too stupid, or too weird to be included,” she says.
The purpose of morning pages, she explains, is to tame the inner critic, what she refers to as the “Censor.” Cameron explains that the Censor’s job is to keep you from creating with its stream of harsh words and constant criticisms. You may choose to write what the Censor has to say, but as Cameron points out, “always remember that your Censor’s negative opinions are not the truth.”
[bctt tweet=”Tame the inner critic and free up your creative courage. #5for5selfcare #innercritic #creativity “]
I think morning pages are also a great way to start the day a bit more slowly, to put off reaching for the phone, and to center yourself before you start the day.
Are you intrigued about doing morning pages? They make a great 5 minute self-care activity. Do you already do them? What’s it like for you? Tell us in the comments.
Twenty 5-Minute Writing Prompts
Write A Personal Reflection On:
- An object that is “precious” to you; You might even share it on this lovely blog.
- Something that scares you
- A time you found you had more courage than you knew
- Your favorite person
- A time you laughed so much you cried
- Something that stirs your soul
- A need that has gone unfulfilled
- What it means to have grit
- A place you find peace
- What you know about the day of your birth or why you were given your name
[bctt tweet=”I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues. – Duke Ellington”]
Write a Short, Creative Piece About:
- An object in your home
- What an old woman tells her granddaughter one hot, airless day to pass the time
- What your favorite shoes would say if they could talk
- A favorite old photograph
- A blue piece of string
Write A Piece That Starts With:
- She never knew she was “intense” until he said…
- He looked up from his book and saw a man with long hair, his hands shook as he began to speak…
- Being the sort of person who liked everything “in its place,” Allie had her doubts…
- Barley was a dingy dog, and while he had an owner he barely belonged to anyone, really…
- All he had to do was pick up the phone and yet…
For more great creative writing prompts, check out Warren Wilson College’s creative writing page.
For you lovely, wonderful creatives on my mailing list, look out for this printable journal coming directly to your mailbox this week.
You can use it as background for your own art journaling or for writing. If you aren’t on my mailing list yet, don’t fret, there’s time to sign up here and spread the creative love.
Comment to Win:
Will you share something you wrote, or share about your experience writing here? Remember, each day you comment is a chance to win a copy of Starting Your Art Journal, or a Portable Art Kit.
For official challenge rules and information, click here.
Reference: Cameron, J. (2002). The artist’s way: A spiritual path to higher creativity. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam.
- Work in Layers in Your Art Journal - Mindful Art Studio - […] Writing about your feelings is a natural way to use a journal page. You can see my art journaling process in…
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This is so fitting! I’m actually a belly dancer, so turning on some music and shimmying around for five minutes is right up my alley. 🙂
I was always interested in dance, but it wasn’t until I started taking classes a few years ago that I realized how much I loved it. Sometimes it was hard to get started, but I was ALWAYS thankful I did by the end.
I believe that everyone should try dancing around every once in a while. Self expression comes in many different forms, at different times; Dancing is just one option!
I think you intended this for the exercise post, but it’s all GOOD! I love what you say about everyone engaging in some form of art and creativity. It’s so true – we are all artists.
Thank you, Amy.
What rich, informative, inspiring words!
Glad you chose to ‘come out’ about your writing passion, as well as your art passion.
I too find great clarity, depth, direction, expression and healing in writing as well as art-making.
Sometimes clients are impressed or awed when I tell them I did my Morning Pages pretty much for eight years. I didn’t do it to impress, but because I felt I needed to. Morning Pages helped me live my life for eight years, then one day I decided I didn’t need to do this so religiously any more.
In response to another of your thought-provoking questions, I was ultra fortunate to be encouraged by my Dad to start a journal at age five! So young. Words and pictures. My first day of journalling forms a powerful sensory memory.
Keep up the good play!
Thank YOU so much for taking the time to read with such attention and an open heart. It’s funny how for some, the morning pages are sort of an epic process – the journey comes to an end, and they fall off – they may reappear or not – you never know.
Wow – an art journal at age 5 is amazing. That’s a totally inspirational idea for all the parents. Thank you so much for that.
Also, it’s funny to hear that me talking about my passion for writing is a “coming out.” I guess because I write the blog I imagine that people guess how much I enjoy writing, but now that you point it out, I can see how it was hidden. Thanks for that insight and your kind words, Sally.
I just finished a page, for a workshop I did, writing down what my “inner critic” said, and then painted over it and did more journalling. Both were REALLY new approaches for me, because I’m very new to art journalling, and have been terrible about keeping even a regular journal for… ever. BUT. The exercise was pretty helpful! Not silencing the critic, but letting her be heard, then telling her, “too bad, THIS is what we’re doing”. I’ll be trying another page like that for this challenge tonight. I have a lot of self doubt that needs some workin’ through!
I LOVE inner critic exercises. In fact, I’m sharing one which is part of my upcoming book, Starting Your Art Journal. If you are looking for more, you can find it on the page for my webinar tomorrow night. Click here to learn more about Finding Creative Freedom.
You also remind me about a post I did featuring the work of an art therapist who took my Art Journaling 101 class and did some amazing inner critic work. She spoke back to her critic in a way that reminds me of you. You can find that post here.
Thanks so much for your additions to this discussion.
This is timely…I have kept journals since sixth grade off and on, and right now is one of those off times. I have been pondering starting up again, and so maybe this is the moment! It’s amazing how effective some writing scribble can be in just quieting all that extra chatter. Thanks Amy!
This IS the moment! How sweet to hear about your process, and I agree, there is a need to “quiet the chatter.” Yikes!
Thanks for the inspiration.
I knew there was a reason I felt so at home when I stumbled across your blog recently 🙂
I am currently in week 2 of the Artist’s Way workbook after listening to the audiobook version twice already. I am feeling so empowered by my morning pages, particularly this week as I’ve been unwell and have a lot of gripes to get off my chest lol. Since starting the book I have purchased a new camera and entered a photography competition with the theme ‘courage’.
I missed yesterday’s challenge due to illness but I contacted a Yoga instructor and signed up for weekly classes – does that count? lol
I’ve shared your blog and YouTube tutorials with my art therapy group. I loved the one on creating backgrounds as I’m using an A5 Passion Planner for my journaling.
Anyway, this is starting to look and sound like one of my morning pages so I’ll leave it there. Thanks for the inspirational writing prompts.
From Down Under
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, and welcome to Mindful Art Studio! How sweet to say that you feel “at home” here. That is exactly what I want folks to feel. Also, there’s a heck of a lot of art and art therapy going on down under, isn’t there? There’s actually a substantial chunk of readers who are in Australia and New Zealand. I also had the pleasure of being interviewed a few months ago by the wonderful, Janet McLeod of Positive Art Therapy. She has a series with many amazing art therapists about their work and art. You can find that here if you haven’t seen it already.
In regards to The Artist’s Way, what a journey it has sparked for you! I’m thrilled to hear all you are doing for yourself creatively and energetically.
If you like the tutorials, you can also check out my Art Tutorials page here, if you haven’t already.
Also,I am doing a free webinar/workshop tomorrow night on Google + called Finding Creative Freedom. It’s at 8:30 PM EST, which I think would be 10:30 am for you? Even if you can’t make it at that time, you can RSVP and catch it later at your convenience. It’s going to be a lot of fun!
Is there anything you wish you saw here that you don’t? I’d love to hear about your writings from the prompts if you feel inspired!
I have been keeping “morning pages” now for 25 years. I tend to write for an hour. This is why I get up by 5 every morning. My day does not go as well if I skip this practice. I love your list of prompts. So today I will write about where I find peace. I will post the photograph on Face Book.
The drive home from my days work is about 15 to 25 miles depending on where I was that day. Once I leave the highway and head up the hill the road becomes narrow and very windy. But this is the part of the road I love. It takes me through a redwood and old oak forest. It is like a cathedral and I am always in awe of the beauty and wildness of the place. My drive home is something of therapy. I leave the worries of the workday behind me and there is a sense of worship as I drive. So strange at it might seem, this rather dangerous drive is my place of peace or at least the beginning of it, for it brings me home.
Wow – 25 years! That is amazing, truly. It’s wonderful that you have found something that works so well for you. What a wonderful self-care practice – as is your contemplative drive home. Thanks so much for sharing here and on Creative Self Care.
Thanks Amy for your inspiration. I have started these writing exercises you spoke of but stopped and just today I was thinking of my dreams and of writing again. Thanks again Lisa
I’m so glad that this came at the right time for you. Isn’t writing down your dreams fascinating? Do you find that you remember them more when you practice this? I’ve always retained my dreams pretty well, but once I started writing them, my recollections grew and grew. I’d love to hear about what you find in the writing prompts.
Morning pages were a wonderful exercise for me this morning with a little coffee and sunshine! I used to write/journal more often and this was the motivation I needed to get back into the swing of it. I’m experiencing a lot of change and growth right now- personally and professionally so that was the focus of my outlet today. To practice not lifting my pen for three pages I would write key words from my thoughts to help keep the process going. That in itself seemed therapeutic for me. For example, writing about a new professional move I’m about to make, I wrote: growth adventure change challenge hopeful insight, etc.
This was a wonderful and rewarding way to start the day.
Rewarding for me today is reading your words and knowing that I’ve helped you find a lovely practice that you might use sometimes moving forward. You honor me with your comment here, it’s such a gift to hear about how this helps you personally, and by extension, professionally. I too like your method of writing words without need for sentences sometimes. Fun. Freeing.
Wow so many morning page writers! They are wonderful. I have been doing them for about 10 years now. My morning routine is to do morning pages, affirmations, then some yoga. It’s really difficult sometimes to find the time, especially when it means giving up sleep, but it really is worth it!
It is wonderful to know we are all engaged in the same practice, isn’t it? I was very dedicated to it for some time and it served me so well. Now I have not had the need for it for years, but I think I may slide back into again. 🙂
You certainly have a wonderful self-care routine.
Well, I just started singing with a new choir and today was to be my third rehearsal. But our director was out of town so they asked me to direct them today. Brand new music none of us had ever seen before. Now that was funny! So I thought I would write about that experience but before I could get home a major headache has hit (residual complication from a head injury). So I wrote a letter to the pain. I decided I would not let it win so I started writing all the things I already had to be thankful for today: the experience, the people, the music, the joy. That pain used to be constant and horrendous. I am thankful that I’ve regained much of my life. The pain allows me to have a new yardstick to measure things for which I am grateful. I don’t take as many things for granted. Thanks, Amy for letting me hold on to today’s victories.
Whew! Barbara – You do know how to put things in perspective for us. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.
Amy, life has shown me that I either find a better perspective or I will wallow in self-pity and despair. I chose to enjoy every bit of life possible. 🙂
Thank you so much for this challenge! It’s made my day.
If my favorite shoes they could talk they would have a loud jovial voice, perhaps several voices at once all in tones of excitement with the feelings of exuberance. This isn’t something one would expect from a pair of black leather military steel-toe combat boots that are over 22years old, a bit tattered.
They speak of travel, of running up and down the stairs in Japanese train stations for years. They rant about a New Orleans. They wildly express the power of all the amazing life changing concerts, all of the music, and all of the dancing! Of course they wouldn’t fail to mention the honor of being my protector. Haha!
How kind of you to let me know that the challenge has impacted you so positively. It really makes all the work worth it! I love hearing about your steel toe boots too!
Keep on kickin’
I agree with feeling at home here and it takes me a lot to motivate myself. I love reading everyone’s entries it gives me a sort or creative unified front!
I actually do night pages lol I’m slowly beginning to enjoy mornings but my writing comes through me when the sun goes to bed.
My mom was always a night owl as well so it’s always made sense to me to create art at late hours.
For this challenge I wanted to touch base on the subject of how I was born because it’s still fascinating and new to me!
My mom endured breast cancer when I was young I remember her whispering to me she had found a lump while we were out to dinner with her friend, my sister and father.
I knew right then I had involuntarily locked myself on a hellish rollercoster I wasn’t allowed off of.
She survived for 3 years after that when doctors gave her 3 months and those 3 years would ultimately change my life.
The day my mom had passed my aunt woke me up (her and my mother were twins and I myself am a twin).
She revealed my father whom I had known since birth was not my biological father and I was essentially brewed in a tube and artificially inseminated.
My questions multiplied but answers never surfaced.
I wouldn’t change my circumstances because it adds flavor to chapters in my life.
It’s clear that your writing is an important part of your self-care that helps you with a multitude of questions, ponderings, and difficult feelings. I’m so glad that this space speaks to you.
I agree this group helps me stay motivated and inspired. I’m grateful that you wrote this. It’s important for your being in so many ways. Also, your post held my heart. Thank you Hillary. I hope we both write more, and more often!
Thank you so much you made me smile!
Smiles right back at you! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Kristina is so good at making people feel good, isn’t she?
Thank You! You are really good at making us feel at home here in this welcoming online environment and the information you provide is extremely helpful to our hearts and lives! <3
Cheers to You!
Seriously you warm my heart, and it’s because you have the gift of doing the same that your comment means even more to me. Thank you so much.
About 20 years ago Oprah did a show that suggested writing a Thankful Journal every day. Almost always, I start the day with a Thankful Journal and then a prayer journal. I try to get at least 5, but there are usually 20-30. Starting the day with that and reading my Bible get me off to a good start!
Yeah, Oprah does tend to have some really good ideas! What a wonderful way to start your day – with gratitude. Thanks so much for sharing that inspiration.
I was glad to see your post. I wish I could keep up with writing more. I know it’s something I need for my soul, it’s a deep part of who I am. When I saw that you write I felt the need to tell you that it’s beautiful what you do. I have often been asked how I hold it together…(myself, my life, etc) and the only answer I ever feel is completely honest is GRATITUDE. <3 I respond with "Gratitude is my crazy glue." I find it bizarre how many millions of people don't ever think about gratitude… I wish there were more psychological studies about it. <3
That’s really smart.
It feels good to find that gratitude and hold it in. It makes an outer glow of kindness around others. One of my favorite things to meditate on.
I didn’t read the prompt until mid morning and didn’t get around to doing the pages until evening. Maybe tomorrow I’ll start them first thing.
I wrote about writing, at once a familiar and somehow distant activity.
What I noticed most:
Just when I was thinking of adding polish to my nails as they have grown out, I shall have to cut them. They dug into my thumb as I wrote with passion. It won’t take too long for the indentation to smooth out, I hope.
I think the fact that you participated is the most important part. Thanks for sharing your writing too, it’s fun to read.
So I started to do these morning pages and got two sentences in. I realized I had not cut my fingernails. I stopped, took care of the problem and wrote along without pain for the time. Nice reminder that sometimes difficulties are of our own making and that sometimes resolution is easy.
I did this the other day too haha! Sore thumbs all around!
Hey Amy, I love this post because journaling is one of my biggest passions too! In fact, I had a very similar experience to yours. I got my first journal as a present for my kindergarten graduation and my first entries were pretty basic to say the least. Like you, I stopped journaling for a while because I thought I was failing at it since I wasn’t doing it every day (and also because I was completely devastated when my baby brother basically destroyed my first diary, lol). I picked it back up again around high school when my emotions became OUT OF CONTROL and I first discovered how therapeutic freewriting could be. Ever since then, when I’m having a particularly emotional day, either good or bad, the first thing I reach for is my journal. I have created a style for myself that has remained pretty consistent over the years. I prefer plain composition notebooks, and all of my entries are in cursive (I think my thoughts flow better that way). Any time I can’t figure out what to do or what I’m feeling, journaling helps me sort it out better than just about anything else.
I really like the morning pages idea and if I actually had time in the morning, I might try it, but I’m not a morning person and will end up putting it off to the side, but I might try to do something like it in the evenings.
I think whether you write in the morning or the evening, the most important thing is that you do something that works for you personally. It sounds like you have a wonderful journaling practice, indeed. I used to love composition notebooks too!
Thanks for sharing your story as well, it’s fun to think about all those budding little writers, isn’t it?
Wednesdays are swamped and self care often falls by the wayside. Taking time to write anything but case notes feels like a luxury but I sat down and followed one of the prompts that spoke to me. It was a chance to focus my mind on a single purpose, without judgment or expectation. I used to keep handmade journals as a young adult, reams and reams of my world exist in the pages of those well used notebooks. Today, I thought the sense memory of those days of writing would come back but it was an experience in and unto itself. Perhaps it was because I was not able to turn of the to do list in my head or the subject I chose, hard to say. I am definitely going to try and write each morning without a stated goal or tied to billing for a few minutes for at least a week and see how that feels.
I love how you used today’s experience as a springboard for ideas on how to adapt things for yourself. I’ll be curious to hear how the writing goes over the next week. Will you keep us posted?
I will certainly try
Oh this is my favorite post of the challenge so far! I kept a journal on and off during middle school and high school, and really I fell in love with writing long before that. I used to write “novels” back in second grade and my mom would type them for me. I always said I wanted to be a writer. And now, at nearly 30 years old, I rarely write at all. I have tried to begin a journaling habit, I even attempted morning pages once, but I just can’t seem to keep up with it…though when I do fill a page in my journal, I feel such peace. I am definitely going to use your prompts, I love the variety you have posted for us! Today you have inspired me to dust off my journal and get to writing!
I’m thrilled to hear that the journaling prompts have you excited to write. Will you let us know how it goes? I’d love to hear.
I am amazed at how your self-care challenge posts have been so in-line with everything I do to, well, take care of myself. I’ve been letting them slip lately so this has been a great reminder.
Your post about journaling today sounds so close to something I would write about myself. I started journaling around the age of 7 or 8 and started filling notebook after notebook when I began “analyzing” my own thoughts and feelings. I’ve turned to my journal for clarity ever since.
The funny part about this post (and yet another thing that shows how in-line I am with what you’ve been posting about) is that I now call my journal my “Brain Dump Book!” Now that I’m older, I use my journal not only for feelings, but for plans, goals, and to-do lists that are clogging up the thought process.
Today I wrote for a few minutes in my art journal about something that has been weighing on my mind, then painted over it, still letting some text show thought. I’ve posted a picture of it on Instagram with the hashtag #5for5selfcare
I’m secretly psychic as well as artistic, and so of course I am speaking directly to you! Haha. Seriously though, my hope has always been to gather together folks who feel the hunger and thirst for creative self-care. I’m so glad you found Mindful Art Studio, and I hope you hang around well beyond this week for more art tutorials, self-care tips, and creativity exercises. There’s a lot more inspiration where this came from! (I’ve also got a really affordable little e-book coming out about staring your art journal. Stay tuned.)
What a great idea….I need to move all my stuff together… lists ect… they are everywhere, it’s overwhelming. Brain Dump! Awesome!
Have journal led on and off for years. Recently found some old journals; hard to read and needed to somehow take care of the younger me who poured her heart out so I transformed excerpts into pieces of art in my current Art Journal…. Soul satisfying!
Welcome to Mindful Art Studio! I apologize for my delayed reply to your lovely comment. It is so inspiring to hear about how to honored yourself and your art and gave it all new life. This is exactly the kind of transformation I am talking about. What a great idea to share – soul satisfying indeed!
Would it make any difference do you think if your ‘morning pages’ were ‘night time pages’? I ask because I get up a 6am and I’m busy from the get go. I can’t face the thought of getting up even earlier so if we’re to write it would have to be before bed.
I love your blog and the Facebook group.
Thanks Amy. x x
I’m so happy you are loving the Mindful Art Studio community; it’s lovely to have you! I think there’s something to the idea of starting your day with a brain dump, but there’s real value in ending your day this way too if that works better for you. I think the idea is to empower yourself creatively in the way that works well for you.
I’m typically a writer, but wanted to integrate some drawing and more visuals. It seems less daunting and more fun. I love the “inchies”. Starting small gives me the permission to do a quick project. I liked the instant gratification of it. Thank you!
oh I’m so glad I could help! How fun!